Local academic Prof. Farid Esack has defended an emotional Facebook post in which he refused to voice his condemnation for Friday evening’s attacks in Paris, insisting the assumption should be that he does not support the murder of innocent individuals. Esack has come under fire from some quarters for questioning the expectation on Muslims to apologise for every terrorist attack committed in the name of their religion.
The post has led to accusations that he holds some level of sympathy for the perpetrators, who are reportedly aligned to the radical Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq. Esack explained that his real position was one of disdain for ISIS, its ideas and methodology, describing the group as an utter abominable and perversion of the spirit of Islam.
“It is a pathetic, abysmal and terribly decontextualized approach to our faith. I have nothing to do with ISIS, I do not support them and I think they are a blemish and embarrassment to Muslims,” he assured, noting that no hint of support of the group was prevalent within his post.
Esack stressed that behind the “knock on the door” of the Muslim community after every terrorist attack was a deep-rooted assumption that Muslims supported murder. He said the post sought to question this narrative.
“I hate the idea that people expect me to condemn because I’m supposedly supporting terrorism. My statement was simply fed-up with this eternal expectation that Muslims are supposed to condemn these attacks all the time. The presumption is that Muslims support terrorism, and it is this that presumption that I’ve had enough of,” he stated.
He acknowledged that while the posting was imbalanced, in the heat of emotion balance did not seem of great urgency.
In the same breath Esack sought to question the double-standards of the global mainstream media, noting that similar mass-killings occurring on a frequent basis in Africa and the Middle East were going largely unnoticed and underreported.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed since 9/11 in the Muslim world but nobody knows their names, there are no personal stories about them and what they were doing. We know the names of all the victims in Paris.
I’m not saying I rejoice in the death of any person…the death of any human being moves me. For better or worse I was simply fed up about people putting the cause for murder at my door, and the door of my religion,” he said.
One particular statement Esack sought to retract was that “the chickens have come home to roost”, insisting that he could not blame those Parisians killed in the attacks for the crimes of their government.
Esack’s Facebook account has since been suspended. He has however vowed to release a follow-up piece providing more clarity on his comments. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)